Italian Rainbow Chopped Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Dressing

Sep 11, 2013

Salad is so gay, a new friend said to eight-year-old Jamie. Jamie went on to explain – in front of a group of 5 boys gathered at our house for the first time – that salad can’t be gay.  Neither can rhubarb, fyi. He talked about people being gay and how everyone has feelings and how people can love whoever they want and how words matter.

Jamie was matter-of-fact and his new friends listened, though only a couple of them would come over again. When the boys had gone, Jamie and I sat with his brother Daniel, then 5. “I’m so proud of you,” I told Jamie. “You spoke up when you could have kept quiet. You protected the rights of others. You stood up for what you know is right, and our family values.” Jamie was glad, and Daniel was fascinated, so I tried to make the most of a teachable moment.  “Daniel,” I told him, “Whether people are gay or Jewish or anything, we are all humans and deserve to be treated well.” And I went on. Probably for too long.

Because a few days later was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. We had extended family around the table, and before tucking into a meal of honeyed salmon, challah, and apple crumble cake, my husband welcomed everyone to “this important Jewish—”  “Um, can I say something?” Daniel asked, actually reverent.  Sure we told him.  “The thing is,” he said all serious with his hazel eyes and full cheeks, “We’re not Jewish.” He took a breath. “We’re gay.”


“Dad, we’re not Jewish, we’re gay.”

“Oh, um, no, see…”

Daniel perked up. “NO, it’s fine! Really! We’re all gay humans at this table…”

It took some time to unravel the confusion and set the record straight. Or gay.

Happy New Year.*

*for those not Jewish (or gay), happy fall.


Italian Chopped Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Dressing

This is another great way to use up odds and ends in the fridge - multi-colored peppers, small bits of cheese, an extra wedge of purple cabbage (note: you can ask at the store and many places will sell you half a cabbage if you don't want to be burdened with a whole one). It's also a good Break Fast addition for Yom Kippur. As Jamie pointed out, you can mix a lot of different kinds into one really delicious salad, without one particular item being the most important or best.

2 cups chopped Romaine or butter lettuce

1 cup very thinly sliced small purple cabbage (make sure to remove the tough heart)

1 red pepper, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 European cucumber, sliced the long way, seeded and cut into chunks (if using regular cuke, peel it first)

handful carrots - either sliced or baby

4 oz. Pecorino or other Italian cheese

4 oz Compte cheese (or cheddar, if that's what you have)

1 or 2 cans tuna packed IN OIL

for the dressing

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

2 pinches fresh tarragon

salt and pepper to taste

Place all vegetables in very large bowl and mix with your hands to combine. Add cheeses and tuna. Make dressing by combining all items, shaking very well in a jar, and adjust for taste. Dress the salad only ten minutes or so before you plan to eat it, tossing well. Serve as is or with fresh bread.


  1. Cindy
    November 20, 2013

    Delicious!!!! Yum!!!!

    If it were not for the mercury, I could be happy eating this everyday with a little kale salad sprinkled in occasionally.

    Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  2. Celia
    November 20, 2013

    LOL! You’re gay AND you’re Jewish! I hope you had a wonderful New Year. Your salad looks delicious, and thank you for specifying tuna IN OIL. Tuna in springwater is cat food. 🙂